Carved out of the cold, Life:
2 ancient sparrows, soiled black bibs bob in sun
like sparklers thrown from a boy's flintwheel.

Only a war-child would rise to make cereal in this gloom.

Thin-lipped Janus
looking in both directions.


If rust blights crops, there will be famine.

We listen to Wind & Wire music.

Bringing the bird bath in took labor:
the electric pump froze:
you had to lift out many, colored stones               frozen hands.

Is that gray luminous body burning above the sun?

With boy-bravado               I get down to things.


Day broke where no sun shines:
Whippets canter, ghost greyhounds:
Not that they've died & come back, but shadow creatures:

speckled, color of stone with snow dusting: a little pack of them
drawn on porcelain lamps: blues, cerulean:
One can trace the muscles moving like follow-the-dots.

Beneath this lean design
leather harness sketched in bark-brown: there are real beads of scarlet blood                                                                      drawn.


But what omen?
Blazed by poems flash-cards or pocket-glass
as though some boy stood at the other side of a room
& shined a mirror to daunt, to blind.

Cacaphony of ravensound.
Then none.
Frost outlines thorn-branches, bramble-wires.

Stabbing voices die down
& creep away
over field ice flat as Holland.

The sightings of the saints
(visions & convulsions)

to leave illuminated windows:
glass stones in a jar


Clarity comes in a ribbon of road:
then water
rowing over platinum waves

to small stone church onshore: windows bright as rosin
with setting sun. A frozen drummerboy plays
a teal drum.

To See Bethlehem First or Last Time
its steel.

Hieronymous Bosch painted horrors:
a poet's vision of hell
mirroring multiplications: fevers

peaking, then breaking
brought on by an old bitter
priest's tinctures, sanctions, strictures.

The poet became helpless
thru his vision

rested cheek against books:
tea-stained, tobacco-scarred. Then overcame fear, took up pen:

his mascot
a little ghost greyhound, whippet
with ribcage so thin it mirrors winter's skeletal
The poet of earth, nail colored, took up pen in glittering light
to record that last medieval trait, self-possession.

Copyright © 2005 Lynn Strongin

Lynn Strongin is an American poet living in Canada. She has seven published books; work in about fifty journals, and thirty anthologies. Her poetry has come out in four countries: England, Canada, Italy and the States.

Among journals in which her poetry has appeared are Poetry, Shenandoah, Southern Humanities Review, StorySouth, The Drunken Boat, New Works Review (featured poet in the current winter issue) and the audio version of Avatar. The last four journals are on-line.

Anthologies in which poetry appears are Rising Tides, The Ardis Anthology of New American Poetry, Sisterhood is Powerful, No More Masks and most recently in Sam Hamill's on-line POETS AGAINST THE WAR and University of Iowa Press's award-winning Visiting Emily: Poems Inspired by the LIfe & Work of Emily Dickinson.

Lynn has worked for Denise Levertov and participated in a workshop run by Robert Duncan. Two P.E.N. awards, one National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Grant.